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FEAR NOT: Love your Neighbor

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“And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: FEAR NOT, but let your hands be strong.” ~ Zechariah 8:13

FEAR NOT: Love your Neighbor

The people of Israel/Judah had returned from captivity in Babylon; they were back in the land God had given to them. However, they were no longer an autonomous state: they were now part of the Medeo-Persian empire.

They were glad to be back home in their land, but they felt impotent: Would they be under the control of a foreign kingdom forever? Would God ever restore them to their former glory, as in the time of king David and king Solomon?

Over the years, they had become a laughingstock, a shame, a curse, because of their fall from glory. But, now, God promised to restore them. They would no longer be a curse among the heathen. Instead, they would become a blessing.

Our text gives us the key to the transformation from shame to blessing: WORK. “…but let your hands be strong”.

(Let us be clear, work does not earn salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) but God has a work for every person to do (Ephesians 2:10) and work is a sign that salvation has come (James 2:14-26).)

What kind of work does God want us to do?  A few verses below our text, God, speaking through Zechariah, said:

“These are the things that ye shall do; [1] Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; [2] execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And [3] let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and [4] love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.” ~ Zechariah 8:16-17

The four things listed can be summarized as, work on your relationships: work on how you treat each other. Or, as Jesus (quoting Scripture) reminded,

“…Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” ~ Matthew 22:39b

Which, after loving God (Matthew 22:36-38). was the second greatest commandment.

It takes work, it takes effort to love each other. It takes work to be fair to each other, to treat each other justly/fairly. BUT this is how Believers, the People of God, become a blessing among the heathen. Jesus put it this way:

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” ~ John 13:34-35

FEAR NOT, Believer, God will tun us into a blessing as we WORK on loving each other. And remember,

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” ~ Proverbs 10:12

This post is a part of a series on several of the “FEAR NOT” sayings in the Bible. 

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